Don’t Wind Up In A Small Mountain-Town ER! Go With Your Gut!

You may remember the series of funny Direct TV spots that ran this year tracing a cable users small reaction to a frustrating cable TV event that leads to a large scale bad situation.

Today as I was thinking through some milestones for my 2015 goals and a recent life event much like the Direct TV commercials (detailed below), it hit me how important one rarely talked about aspect of leadership and pursuing your calling is, and how this one small thing has big implications.

Gut-Instinct. It won’t scream at you. It won’t throw a fit. It won’t force you to take action. It’s not “fight-or-flight”. It’s a low simmer. It reminds me of “the still small voice” or “gentle whisper” the Biblical Old Testament prophet Elijah wrote about.

As I was analyzing one of my goals and thinking about how it logically fit into my plans, it struck me that I couldn’t explain why some decisions and opportunities seem to draw me more than others. I just know in my gut when the moment is right to pursue an opportunity. There’s an excitement and a draw that occur but it’s deeper than that. There seems to be a strong underlying mature passion and willingness to take on certain challenges.

Some opportunities look great on paper, but in my gut I know something isn’t right with it. By contrast, there are other opportunities that may seem less strategic, but I know in my gut that it’s the right call.

I can honestly say that every time I have neglected to go with my gut, the results have confirmed that I should have. Take this past Saturday for example. After four days of snowboarding at a Christmas family get together in the mountains of PA, we wrapped up our last run of the morning and were about to head in for lunch. My kids wanted to do one last run because we had about 20 minutes to spare so we went.

In my thinking, there was no logical reason not to go for one more run, but in my gut I felt we probably shouldn’t. Logic won out over gut and we went.

Twenty minutes later when we completed the final morning run, I had added a third degree (aka “type III”) separated shoulder and spending a few hours in a small mountain ER to my list of life experiences. Call it intuition. Call it gut-feel. Whatever it is, go with your gut and learn to trust it! It’s a God-given gift. Don’t wind up in a small mountain-town ER! Go with your gut!

Elements of Art: Form

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Continuing in our series The Elements and Principles of Art, up next is form. When an artist uses form, he or she uses techniques to show 3 dimensionality (either real or perceived). A square is a flat shape, but a cube is a square with form.

Form is an illusion in 2D art like paintings, movies, or other pieces of flat art. Form is used in reality in art forms such as sculpture or other physical 3D art.

For the most part, artists use form as an illusion and there are various techniques used to imply form, mainly through lighting, contours, perspective, and contrast.

In these cases, the contrast of light and shadow can be used to suggest form, as can the simple contour lines as seen in the cube and cylinder above. Single, double, and complex perspective techniques, as well as atmospheric perspective, can all give the illusion of depth and form. Contrast of tone or color can be used to suggest form as well.

Understanding form is one thing, but learning how and why to use it is another. Starting with a basic understanding of what form is helps artists know how to talk and think about artistic choices.

Even in live action or CG films where form is native to the medium, there are certain scenes or sequences where the director intentionally flattens or enhances form to make an emotional connection to that part of the story or something the character is experiences.

The next time you watch a film, pay attention to form and how it is used by the director. It’s a great exercise in learning about form.

2014 Book Round Up

Here are the books I have read this year (including a few I’m currently reading and plan to finish by years end). I’ve categorized them by topic and highly recommend each one. I put a *star* by my absolute favorites. (I also linked to my book and my bud Charlie’s recently released book.) This is a great time of year to set some reading goals for 2015. Try to read an average of 1 per month.

CREATIVE CULTURE/BUSINESS
*Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull

ARTISTIC GROWTH
Calling All Artists, by Todd Hampson
*Die Empty, by Todd Henry
Do The Work, by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

BRANDING
Creating Magic, by Lee Cockerell
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, by Guy Kawasaki

PRODUCTIVITY/PURPOSE
*Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Simplify, by Bill Hybels
Fight, by Craig Groeshel
*Unstoppable, by Christine Caine

BIOGRAPHY
Caged In, by Charlie Bancroft
Lincoln’s Melancholy, by Joshua Wolf Shenk
George Washington Carver, by John Perry

CHURCH STRATEGY
The Multi-Site Church Revolution, by Geoff Surratt